A good website maintenance plan is a set of tasks that keep your site updated, secure, and running smoothly.
This guide explains the areas of focus, specific tasks, and frequency that make a website maintenance plan effective.
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A solid and effective website maintenance plan focuses on these areas:
See the sections below for details…
To keep your website as secure as possible, do the things below. Run a periodic check to ensure everyone with backend access to your site is complying with these guidelines.
Always use strong passwords, which are at least 12 characters long and mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
Always use two-factor / multi-factor authentication, which requires you to submit a code in addition to your username and password
Use an SSL/TLS security certificate on your site (so it shows up as https) and make sure to renew the certificate before it expires
Create backups of your website on a regular basis - keep one copy locally and another copy at a cloud storage provider
Websites run on software frameworks such as WordPress, Bootstrap, and others. Perform these tasks on a regular basis.
Check the website's underlying software for updates and install them
Remove unused plugins, themes, and any other code that is no longer actively used
Be alert to all software updates since they often mitigate recently-discovered security risks
Website content (text, images, videos, etc.) should be kept up-to-date, relevant, and efficient.
Update or remove old content
Add new content as often as possible
Optimize images so they download more quickly for visitors with slower Internet connections
Run a periodic search engine optimization (SEO) check and work to improve your SEO
Have people not familiar with your website check it for things that don't make sense (then fix them)
A website can be offline for hours (or days) without your knowledge, so to ensure it's running properly 24/7, set up automatic monitoring for the things below.
Speed and performance
404 (“page not found”) errors
Google Analytics and other tools can collect a large amount of anonymous but valuable data about your website visitors. Periodically look at the data for things like…
Who, demographically, is visiting your site
What pages they're looking at and how long they stay on your site
If your calls-to-action are being clicked
If your navigation is being used as you expected
If you get a lot of repeat visitors
If your website is important to your business, you need to have an emergency plan. Human error or technical problems can knock a website offline, so set up monitoring as described above and do these things…
Make a contact list for your domain name registrar, web hosting provider, email provider, web team, etc.
Send an updated (and offline) document to your team with names, phone numbers, and alternative email address so they can communicate if the site (and its email function) go down.
Make sure to create frequent site backups, know where they are, and know how to restore them
Think about using a content delivery network (CDN) which provides redundancy by hosting your site in multiple locations
Businesses and websites are not like books that remain static once printed.
Make sure your website stays up to date with both its content and its technology
Periodically check your site on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, then make any necessary improvements
Continuously improve your site to keep it relevant in search engine results, improve sales, and reduce customer support costs
Here is a partial checklist of maintenance tasks to get you started. You and your web team should develop a full maintenance checklist and execution plan.
Many web development agencies offer maintenance plans. The cost depends on the size and complexity of your website.
Just like preventative maintenance on cars and houses is usually a smart investment, performing regular maintenance on your website will likely be worth much more than its cost.
Let us know if this information is helpful or if you have any questions.
If you'd like a free, no-obligation quote for website maintenance plans, please get in touch.